Georgia’s new insurance commissioner is focused on transparency

Former insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens was Georgia’s insurance chief for 18 years. His successor made several changes on the first day of his term in office to make the office of insurance commissioner more transparent.

Newly-elected Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck fulfilled his day one promises of enhancing transparency, consumer protection, and defending against fraud that he made throughout his year and a half long bid for the office.

“In my campaign, I promised to be a day one Commissioner. I am proud to report we have now taken significant steps in fulfilling our day one promises by deploying several tools to empower consumers” Beck said. “Over the next four years, I will defend consumers against fraud, promote transparency, and protect Georgia families.”

On his first day in office, Beck took the following actions:

Enhancing Transparency
Beck has authorized broader access for Georgians who should soon be able to see pending auto rate filings at any time through the system for Electronic Rates & Forms Filings by visiting the department’s website. Additionally, companies are now required to update their rates in the auto rate comparison tool on the Department’s Website on a timely basis. This will allow consumers to have accurate, up-to-date information from an official and unbiased source when comparing prices or shopping for their auto insurance policy.

Consumer Protection Services
Consumers can now determine how many complaints are received against a particular insurance company by visiting the department’s Website. This tool will also allow citizens to compare complaint statistics of each company they are considering doing business with. In order to speed up the handling and resolution of consumer complaints, Beck’s first directive as commissioner requires all insurance companies responding to an inquiry from the department to utilize the communication portal on the department’s website.

Defending Against Fraud
Beck also directed the market conduct examination team to begin reporting directly to him instances where consumers known to be over the age of 65 or veterans of our U.S Military have been harmed through unfair practices. He will then use these findings to double the penalties and fines accessed against these companies for these occurrences.

Accessibility and Service
Consumers who have complaints against their insurance companies can now schedule meetings through the department’s Rolling Regional Offices where they can sit down face-to-face with an investigator in their own community.

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